Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Great even beam at close proximity, good brightness and distance scores.
Cons: Expensive, heavier than alternatives.
Best Uses: Many lumens at close proximity.
The X-shot performed exceptionally in our close proximity and brightness tests. It did not do as well in the ease-of-use, weight and glove use tests. It is a great light, but in the ultra-competitive headlamp market, there are a lot of other great options in lighter and less expensive packages with longer distance beams. That said, if your main interest is in close proximity applications, this light is worth a look.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
This scored slightly better than average for trail finding with a 6 of 10 score. It's plenty bright, but the spotlight is too narrow and feels like you are looking down a tunnel. This is quite dramatically seen in our beam comparison photo tool. For example, see the difference in the X-Shot vs the Icon as shown below. The Icon scores of 9 of 10.
With a 9 of 10 score, this scored high for close proximity. It casts a bright and very even beam to your immediate surroundings. Only a few other contenders such as the Coast (10 of 10) shown below outperformed it in this category.
The 6 of 10 battery life score comares to the Icon with a 7 of 10 and the Coast with a 3 of 10. The X-Shot lasted seven hours in our measured high mode run time tests with the ANSI standard (read the Headlamp Review to learn more about ANSI). In this battery life versus beam the distance graph against the Icon, see how the W-Shot shines about 30 m farther for most of the time but shuts down after seven hours. The Icon keeps shining to 8 hours and then another 4 hours at 10 percent beam power.
This was a solid performer for both measured brightness (lux) and distance. The measured maximum beam distance of 112 m is just behind the Coast (128 m) and ahead of the Icon (80 m). As mentioned above, it does this by having a very narrow beam: keep that in mind when making comparisons.
The X-shot weighs 180 grams and gets a weight score of 3 of 10. While most headlamps came in this size 10 years ago, now only the super heavy duty headlamps are in this weight class. This is one of the main drawbacks of this light; there are so many other options now that perform exceptionally well at half the weight. The Coast weighs 124 grams and the Black Diamond Spot weighs 93 greams. Both have better trail-finding beam performance.
Ease-of-Use and Gloved Use
The scores in these two tests were a little below average. The buttons are not as intuitive as some of the other models tested. However, once you spend some time with the light you will get accustomed to it.
This is a powerhouse headlamp for close-in activities. It is ideal for searching within 50 feet around you and also gives you the option of a good solid long distance lighting. The challenge is in those in between areas where the beam diameter is hard to get just right.
At $90, this is a premium-priced headlamp. There is some pretty stiff competition that costs half as much.
The X-Shot is basically boxed in by the Coast HL7 and the Black Diamond Icon, both of which beat it on almost every metric but in differing ways. You can see in Icon vs. X-Shot and beam comparison and Coast vs. X-Shot beam comparison photos. For example, one of the few metrics where the S-Shot beats the Icon is on weight, but the tradeoff there is that it loses on battery life. If you felt you liked the brightness, and can handle less battery life for the benefit of lower weight, then the Coast is a better choice. While a bit worse on battery life, the Coast is brighter and outscored the X-Shot on every other metric.
— RJ Spurrier
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: January 11, 2014
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